Sunday, 21 November 2010

SSPX about to expel Bishop Williamson?

Thanks to commenter RJ for alerting me to the news that the SSPX is finally threatening to take action against Bishop Williamson. 

The final straw it seems, is Williamson's decision to sack his existing lawyer for the upcoming court case on his holocaust denying remarks, and replace him with one with clear neo-Nazi links.

As RJ points out in his comment on my post on a liberal dissenter, expelling the bishop is overdue, and doing it a lot earlier could have saved all (genuine) traditionalists, and many others, from the Pope down, a lot of trouble.

The fact that the SSPX are finally taking action, though, is a very positive sign.

But while I applaud the Pope's attempts to save souls by returning them to unity, and strongly agree that every attempt needs to be made with thsoe who stand so near to full communion with Rome, I have to admit I remain pessimistic about the chances of reconciling the SSPX. 

But then again, who would have thought we'd see the day when a concrete timetable for bringing in 5 Anglican bishops, perhaps 50 priests and 500 or so of their parishioners put out by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales? It is looking to be a very good coming Easter indeed for the Church.  And that's only the first wave....

Of course, it could all have happened thirty years ago had Pope John Paul II been as willing to stand up for true ecumenism as Pope Benedict XVI...

14 comments:

R J said...

Many thanks indeed, Terra. For once, I'm reasonably optimistic about a news item!

Threatening to kick out Bishop Williamson will force a fair few lay troublemakers within SSPX circles to choose: with whom will they side, Bishop Williamson or Bishop Fellay? My guess (though it's only a guess) is that the Pope's reported desire for "a smaller but better Church" has its parallel in Bishop Fellay wanting "a smaller but better SSPX."

I speak as one who was originally received into the Church by an SSPX priest, continues to have considerable sympathy with the Society, and still occasionally goes to SSPX Masses (though on a diocesan priest's insistence I no longer receive Communion at any of these), but who - years ago now - ceased active SSPX parish life because I fell foul of a vociferous, if numerically tiny, lay neo-Nazi element at one church. This element expressed noisy repugnance at the presence of various non-white parishioners. Pro-Hitler nutbags of this sort tend to be very cashed-up, so there was always a financial risk of decreased collection-plate earnings involved for any priest who dared rebuke them; and thus they didn't get rebuked.

Nevertheless the Williamson affair shocked a lot of people, I reckon, into taking serious decisions.

Best wishes for your website's success.

Terra said...

I have to admit I'm coming at them form a different angle from you RJ.

I walked out of the only two SSPX masses I've ever attended (not in this country) due to the extremity of the attacks on the (previous) Pope in the sermons. I'm no JPII fan, nor have I ever been reticent about sharing my views forthrightly on Popes and bishops. But some respect is owed to the office at least!

And I've been deeply disturbed by some of the (in my view) erroneous views articulated by those I know do regularly attend SSPX masses, and which they claim to have been told to them by Society priests. In particular, attacks on the indefectability of the Church through its sacraments.

Now maybe these aren't problems aren't as widespread as they seem to be, but...

Cardinal Pole said...

"The final straw it seems, is Williamson's decision to sack his existing lawyer for the upcoming court case on his holocaust denying remarks, and replace him with one with clear neo-Nazi links."

1. What you've written there is wide open to misinterpretation. Comma notwithstanding, someone unfamiliar with the sequence of events might read that paragraph and think that Msgr. Williamson sacked his previous lawyer with the intention of replacing him with a lawyer with alleged neo-Nazi links, when the sequence of events was, as far as I know, as follows:

1.1 Msgr. Williamson sacked the previous lawyer for unrelated reasons.
1.2 Period of finding new representation.
1.3 Someone recommended the new lawyer.
1.4 On this advice, His Lordship engaged the services of the new lawyer, only to find out that he allegedly had neo-Nazi links.

2. Interesting that you speak of what happened to European Jews during WWII as an "holocaust". I would have thought that the only "holocaust" worthy of the name after the abolition of the Old Law was Calvary and its reproduction in the Mass.

3. There's an interesting symmetry here, which I'm not sure anyone else has noticed: When Msgr. Williamson was 're-incommunicated', as you'll recall the usual suspects howled that the Pope was bringing an 'Holocaust denier' back into the Church. Of course, the Holy Father was not aware of His Lordship's 'Holocaust denial' at the time, though. Is it possible that, similarly, Msgr. Williamson was not aware of the new lawyer's alleged neo-Nazi links, and that, because he does not speak German, he simply accepted the advice of a trusted German-speaking person?

"Now maybe these aren't problems aren't as widespread as they seem to be, but..."

But what? What can you possibly infer from attendence at two (!) S.S.P.X. Masses and hearsay about what some Society priests are supposed to have told a handful of apparently theologically illiterate laymen?

Terra said...

Well I could have gone on with my list of reasons, Cardinal, its just that they simply confirmed my initial impressions. The SSPX have cleaned up some of the worst material from their websites in recent times, but some of it is still there. And there is always Bishop Williamson's blog for light entertainment and outrage if one had any doubts as to exactly where he is coming from.

And oh yes, there is the fact that they are still not in full communion with Rome.

As for your concern over the use of the term holocaust, all I can say is, no wonder the SSPX and its supporters have a perception problem on Jewish issues. Look up the Collins Dictionary and the definition given is 'great destruction of life esp by fire'. If that doesn't aptly describe what happend to the Jews (and many others) under the Nazis, I don't know what does.

Cardinal Pole said...

"[You] could have gone on with [your] list of reasons, Cardinal, its just that they simply confirmed [your] initial impressions"

Weak confirmation, indeed.

"some of it is still there"

Links, please.

"the fact that they are still not in full communion with Rome."

I forgot to take up that point before, so I'll do it now: What is "full communion"?

"Look up the Collins Dictionary"

Which edition? It would be interesting to compare the respective definitions of pre-War and post-War editions. For my part though, I'm much more interested in what a Biblical concordance and lexicon says than what a secular dictionary says.

Terra said...

Dear Cardinal,

No I'm not going to scrabble around hunting down the links for the anti-jewish, anti-sacramental validty and other stuff the SSPX has previously put up, you can do a google search if you really want to find it. Do you really claim it has never existed? One can just peruse the comments boxes of Rorate Caeli and Angelqueen forum to the effects of the teaching.
Or your own comments for that matter.

And I'm a plain English kind of person - when talking about something in the secular sphere use a secular dictionary; when looking up a dictionary to see how a term is used today, it makes sense to use a contemporary one.

Of course, there is one particular piece of modern reluctance within the Church to call a spade a spade that I think unhealthy, and that is in relation to the reluctance to use the h (heresy) and s (schism) words.

To use a source that you can hopefully accept on just what 'full communion' means, I turned to Dr Ott, who says that unity of communion "consists, on the one hand, in the subjection of the members of the church to the authority of the bishops and of the Pope (unity of government or hierarchical unity); on the other hand, in the binding of the members among themselves to a social unity by participation in the same cult and in the smae mens of grace (unity of cult or liturgical unity).

Since the SSPX as a whole does not yet subject itself to hierarchical unity, and most individual members would never darken the door of a 'novus ordo' church under any circumstances, I think the objective situation is clear.

I do pray that will change however..

Cardinal Pole said...

"No [you're] not going to scrabble around hunting down the links for the [1.] anti-jewish, [2.] anti-sacramental validty and [3.] other stuff the SSPX has previously put up, [I] can do a google search if [I] really want to find it. Do [I] really claim it has never existed?"

1. Vague. If by "anti-Jewish" you're referring to anti-Semitism, then I certainly do "claim it has never existed". If you're referring to anti-Judaism, then guilty as charged, I suppose (and I can understand how that must scandalise you, given that no less than the Pope has spoken of "the scourge of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism [!, my emphasis, VIS 20100118 (1040)]").
2. Vaguer. Which Sacraments? But the S.S.P.X. has not published anything saying that any of the N.O.-confected/conferred Sacraments are necessarily invalid, so again I "claim it has never existed".
3. Vaguest!

But what I 'claim' doesn't really matter; if you're claiming those things then, in line with the Eighth Commandment, you need to back them up. The burden of proof is on you, not me. That which is gratuitously asserted may be gratuitously denied, he, or she, who affirms must prove, innocent until proven guilty, &c., &c., &c. And if you're unwilling or unable to prove it, then the Eighth Commandment requires you to retract what you wrote.

"One can just peruse the comments boxes of Rorate Caeli and Angelqueen forum to the effects of the teaching."

No, I don't want to 'peruse' any discussion boards or blog comboxes, I want you to prove what you assert, or retract it. (And if AQ is anything to go by, it is evidence to the contrary of what you say, since its terms of use forbid denial of the validity of the N.O.M.)

"Or [my] own comments for that matter."

Wow, so now you're claiming that I too have published "anti-jewish, anti-sacramental validty" "stuff"? Where have I done so? (I must say, I'm astonished at how you're behaving here, Terra. It's as though you've abandoned all regard for the Eighth Commandment. Let's be clear: What you've done is to calumniate the S.S.P.X. and now, apparently, myself.)

"To use a source that ..."

No, I asked what you meant when you wrote "full communion" (as though there are degrees of communion, which is heretical), not what Ott meant by 'unity of communion'.

Terra said...

Cardinal,

This seems to me an entirely unproductive discussion - you are not going to convert me, and I'm not going to convert you from the sound of it. I guess we just need to pray that our respective leaders manage to come to an understandding to guide us all.

But if you really do insist n continuing, perhaps you could explain your terms a little so we don't waste each others time.

1. What is the difficulty you see with the term 'full communion'? I cited Dr Ott's explanation because I thought it provided a good theological explanation that nicely underpins current terminology as used within the Church. The essential point is that the SSPX seems to fit nicely his definition of a schismatic organisation (whether we nuance it all and say 'schismatic tendancies' might be seen by a hardliner such as yourself as a classic example of "New Church" speak if it related to some other organisation, no?!).

2. I'm not quite sure I understand the distinction you are making between anti-semitism and anti-judaism. As I noted in my previous post, a quick google provides numerous links to what is on, or has been on SSPX websites that seems problematic to many. But rather than cite specifics and argue them one by one, lets get the conceptual framework clear first.

Some have criticised the current Pope for being overly sensitive to the effects of anti-semitism because of his background. I don't agree - I think his teaching is an example of God's providential guidance in history in bringing good out of evil.

My position (and the Church's, made clear in the condemnation of Marcionism in the second century) is that the Jewish religion is true, but incomplete.

3. On the SSPX's doubts about the validity of the sacraments, as far as I'm concerned the current website's explanation of why one should have nothing to do with the novus ordo mass says it all: http://www.sspx.org/sspx_faqs/q5_novusordo.htm

Cardinal Pole said...

"What is the difficulty [I] see with the term 'full communion'?"

That term implies degrees of communion, which is clearly heretical. One is either in communion with the Bishop of Rome, or one is not. Now of course, of those who are in communion with the Bishop of Rome, there are, as you know, the good and the bad; the former are living members of the Body of Christ, the latter are dead members of, but nevertheless still part of, the Body of Christ. From the Modernist perspective, the S.S.P.X. would belong to the latter category, but nevertheless this would still be 'full communion', not 'partial communion' or a lower 'degree' of communion.

"[You're] not quite sure [you] understand the distinction [I am] making between anti-semitism and anti-judaism."

By anti-Semitism I mean antipathy towards Jews which is motivated by racism; by anti-Judaism I mean opposition to the 'traditions of men' which Christ Himself condemned two thousand years ago and which have since been condified as the Talmud. Anti-Semitism is opposition to an ethnic group insofar as it is an ethnic group, while anti-Judaism is opposition to a religion insofar as it is a religion. In this day and age, Judaism can mean nothing other than Talmudism, to which all Christians must be opposed.

"On the SSPX's doubts about the validity of the sacraments, as far as [you're] concerned the current website's explanation of why one should have nothing to do with the novus ordo mass says it all"

Section D. clearly argues that N.O. Masses are not necessarily invalid and (last sentence of D.) that they should be assumed to be valid.

Terra said...

Cardinal -

1. You haven't actually cited a source for your view on "full communion". I would point out that current canon law does in fact accept degress of communion, with some allowed to receive in catholic churches who are not catholics under particular circumstances.

2. Sacraments 'not necessarily invalid' means may be invalid! And in fact the website explicitly argues that the indefectability of the Church does not in fact protect the sacraments (which I strongly reject), and that "Therefore, these Masses can be of doubtful validity, and more so with time."

3. On the Jewish faith, I'll answer your argument with a separate post.

Cardinal Pole said...

"1. [I] haven't actually cited a source for [my] view on "full communion"."

Don't you agree that someone either belongs to the Body of Christ, which is the Catholic Church, and is therefore in communion with the Bishop of Rome (included in which category are both those with Faith, Hope, and Charity--Catholics in the state of grace, in other words--and those with Faith and presumably Hope, but not Charity--Catholics in the state of mortal sin, in other words), or is not (included in which category are heretics, schismatics, apostates, pagans, Jews, &c)? Asking me for sources for this view would be like asking me for my sources for my view of the Trinity or the Incarnation or some other foundational teaching; it's so basic that I wouldn't know where to begin.

"[You] would point out that current canon law does in fact accept degress of communion, with some allowed to receive in catholic churches who are not catholics under particular circumstances."

Non-members of the Body of Christ receiving the Body of Christ, in other words. Make of that what you will.

"2. Sacraments 'not necessarily invalid' means may be invalid!"

Obviously (presuming you meant to write "'not necessarily valid'").

"And in fact the website explicitly argues that the indefectability of the Church does not in fact protect the sacraments"

Could you give me the quotation for that (sorry, but I don't have time to re-read the article)?

Terra said...

1. Full communion - canon 205 - Those baptised are in full communion (plene in communione)with the Catholic Church here on earth who are joined with Christ in his visible body, through the bonds of profession of faith, the sacraments and ecclesiastical governance.

If the Church uses the concept in its code of law, I am comfortable that it isn't heretical!

2. I wrote what I meant on validity of the sacraments and indefectability. If you wish to continue the debate and try and defend the in my view indefensible claims of the SSPX on indefectability that's up to you!

Cardinal Pole said...

"Full communion - canon 205 - Those baptised are in full communion (plene in communione) ..."

Wow. I was previously unaware that the New Code of Canon Law used the heretical term 'full communion'. I'll have to look into whether the usage is hæretica or merely male sonans. (Naturally I'm not going to ask you to prove one or the other, since the onus here is of course on me.)


"If [I] wish to continue the debate and try and defend the in [your] view indefensible claims of the SSPX on indefectability that's up to [me]!"

Naturally I'm going to have to keep asking you to prove your calumny against the S.S.P.X., since the onus here is of course on you. All I asked for was the relevant quotation.

Terra said...

Dear Cardinal,

I'm going to cut off this discussion at this point and leave it to prayer for you to abandon your 'schismatic tendancies'.

Let me just say it is not calumny when it is truth, and I've previously provided the sources and quotes to support my statements. Nor for that matter is it detraction when one simply draws attention to things in the public domain.